Canada- Catholic official pleads guilty in child sex case
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014
Ottawa man pleads guilty in sex case
He was former head of Catholic youth group
He was indicted for 1984 child sexual assault
In 2002, a civil case against him & Knights of Columbus was settled
Victims urge others who were hurt to “come forward, get help, call police”
An Ottawa man who was the provincial director of a national Catholic youth organization admitted guilt in a criminal case stemming from an August 1984 child sexual assault.
Steve Fagan pleaded guilty yesterday to sexual assault and will face a sentencing hearing on October 17. The Crown is seeking a six month jail sentence, two years' probation, and that Fagan be listed on the sex offender registry.
Fagan was arrested in November or December of 2013 for the sexual assault of a boy. At the time of the assault, Fagan was a member of the Knight of Columbus and State Chairman for the Ontario Columbian Squires. The Knights are a 1.8 million member Catholic men's organization and the Squires are the Knights' youth auxiliary.
Fagan used his position as provincial director to target and molest a boy who was a member of the organization. That individual, now in his 40s read a 'victim impact statement' at the hearing in Kingston.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), are saluting the victim's bravery and tenacity. They also applaud prosecutors, who pursued the case when many others might have passed.
“It takes real courage to step forward, report abuse and seek justice when you've been sexually violated as a child,” said Brenda Brunelle of Windsor, Canada. She’s a SNAP leader for Windsor. “This courageous young man has successfully stepped forward twice – in both criminal and civil court – and children are safer because of him.”
"All too often, victims hear that they cannot use the criminal courts because too much time has passed," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "The fact that prosecutors pursued this case shows that's not always the case. Smart and determined police and prosecutors can often successfully pursue even older child sex crimes. But first, victims must find the courage and strength to speak up."
SNAP believes that Fagan was expelled from the Knights of Columbus in late 1992 or early 1993.
The hearing was at 10 am yesterday at the Kingston, Ontario Courthouse at 279 Wellington Street, Courtroom 3. Justice Letourneau presided and Assistant Crown Attorney Elisabeth Foxton was the prosecutor.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)